When we caught up with Frankie McNamara, we were immediately joined by his newest companion, a golden retriever named Freddie.
Now, Freddie is a familiar name for the comedian as he tells us that back in the day ‘Freddie the Brush’ used to be his music name. “I don’t want people to think that I named him after that, my mam picked the name,” he said.
‘Freddie The Brush’ was Frankie’s short-lived solo music act. “Tom Mish was a big influence of mine. I went through my Tom Mish phase where I’d make beats and play guitar,” he explained. Fast forward a few years and Frankie McNamara has swapped the guitar for comedy skits and famously coined himself a “Toxic Spirit Guide”.
We talked all about the origins of his acclaimed social media page Meditations For The Anxious Minds and what it was like writing his first book for Harper Collins.
So without further ado, let’s get into our interview, shall we?
Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m Frankie McNamara, am I being subpoenaed? I’m 27 years old. I feel like I’m on Love Island now… I’m a Toxic Spirit Guide. A lot of people think that my comedy page is a joke but it’s actually really serious, like I’m not joking. I’ve never joked once. Do you know The National Geographic? It’s like that.
What does a Toxic Spirit Guide entail?
I started meditating at the start of the first lockdown. I was looking up meditations on YouTube and I just heard all of these guided meditations with healers where they’re like “enter the room… open the door” and I just thought to myself, “nobody talks like that in real life”. I thought that they were probably all just horrible people.
I started to think, “Oh my god, I’m a horrible person… Why am I not making money off of it?”. And now I am and I have become more horrible as the years went on because being horrible is a progressive illness. You know, you might find out at the age of 20 you’re a certain level of toxicity, but as the years go on and life just crushes you, you get more and more toxic as you go along. So it’s the sky’s the limit on how this is going to go, you know, I could get so much worse.
How did the idea for ‘Meditations for the Anxious Minds’ come about?
I started it off when I was 12 years old, on holiday with my family and we were playing the Irish edition of Monopoly and I noticed that they had Kimmage in it and I had never heard of it before. I had never been to Kimmage and I didn’t know anyone from Kimmage either. You never hear anyone talking about it in the mainstream media. They call it MSM (Mainstream Media) but in Kimmage, it’s KRM (Kimmage Related Media).
So that’s how it started off. I put up the video and thought that nobody would know what I was talking about. But I took a chance with it and that was the one that really caught on. Before that, I forgot that I did this, I did one called ‘Male Posturing in a Warehouse’, and this one was basically observing people who went to warehouse raves because back in the day, I used to go to them. I used to notice that the people who went to these raves would go “yeuuhh”, so the whole idea of the video was that it was about toxic masculinity and “the yup bro who yups the loudest is the most frightened”. It’s like the yup is a protective shell that stops people from seeing their vulnerable side. So that’s how I got started.
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Can you tell us about your new book ‘The Toxic Travel Guide’?
It’s a toxic travel guide about each county in Ireland and then a few towns and villages within those counties. Each county has its own unique toxicity rating out of ten. It’s taken years and years of research to find each county’s level of toxicity because, you know, I’m just doing the work that not many people are willing to do, and the book sales have been going really well.
Was it challenging transferring from video to paper when writing ‘The Toxic Travel Guide’?
No, I loved the process of it. I gave myself 500 words to write every day and that was generally what I did. It probably took about six to nine months to write the book and I maybe missed 20 of those days. I wrote every other day. The stressful part was once I got to the word count, it was 70,000/75,000 words. I had to look over each county and make sure I didn’t forget any of them.
Strangely enough, it was actually really relaxing writing the book in general. Once I finished the 500 words a day, I had a sense of accomplishment. I really loved it, and it translated very well. I was always interested in writing. I used to write prose when I was a kid. I was always writing and being creative in that way. My videos are very script heavy anyway, so it translated very well onto the written word.
The Toxic Travel Guide: Ireland as You’ve Never Seen It Before is available in bookstores nationwide. Here’s a snippet of the iconic introduction to Dublin for you: “People from Dublin think they’re the centre of the universe. It’s home to the yupbros, D4s and Garda rats. There are literally no other type of people in Dublin”. It’s simply a book that is not to be missed!
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